Launch — Beginningless Thought/​Endless Seeing: The Works of Stuart Sherman

Prin­ted Mat­ter invites you to the launch of Begin­ning­less Thought/​Endless See­ing: The Works of Stu­art Sher­man on Fri­day, Decem­ber 2nd 2011 at 195 Tenth Aven­ue in New York…

Begin­ning­less Thought/​Endless See­ing is a fully illus­trated col­or cata­log doc­u­ment­ing the acclaimed 2009 ret­ro­spect­ive exhib­i­tion of the artist Stu­art Sher­man cur­ated by John Hagan, Yolan­da Hawkins, and John Mat­turri. It is the first and only mono­graph of Sherman’s work, sur­vey­ing the wide spec­trum of media that con­sti­tuted the entirety of the artist’s cre­at­ive prac­tice includ­ing per­form­ance, writ­ing, draw­ing, col­lage, sculp­ture and film.

About: Stu­art Sher­man, one of the most pro­tean of the Amer­ic­an avant-garde artists who rose to prom­in­ence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, developed his own unique style across vari­ous media, the impact of which con­tin­ues to res­on­ate a dec­ade after his death. He devoted a large amount of his time to the cre­ation of per­form­ances he called “spec­tacles” which often took the form of small tab­letop per­form­ances. These per­form­ances involved the manip­u­la­tion of both famil­i­ar and unfa­mil­i­ar every­day objects atop one or more fold­ing TV din­ner tables. Per­formed by a poker-faced Sher­man, the spec­tacle per­form­ances sit in a uniquely hybrid space that moves between ref­er­ences to vari­ous genres includ­ing com­edy, magic, music­als, min­im­al­ism, sur­real­ism, opera, three-card monte games, Flux­us, and vaudeville. While the spec­tacle per­form­ances were gen­er­ally mini­ature in scale they were cer­tainly not mini­ature in ambi­tion, explor­ing with great wit top­ics such as time, lan­guage, mor­tal­ity, erot­i­cism, and per­son­al iden­tity. Through these per­form­ances he craf­ted a unique iden­tity both as cre­at­or and per­former.

Although Stu­art Sher­man is per­haps best known for his object spec­tacles as well as for his films (cur­rently being restored by the Museum of Mod­ern Art) and videos (avail­able through Elec­tron­ic Arts Inter­mix), the 2009 exhib­i­tion presen­ted a much broad­er view of his artist­ic achieve­ments through doc­u­ment­a­tion of his large-scale the­at­ric­al pro­duc­tions, sculp­tur­al pro­pos­als, daily col­lages from the 1990s, and poetry. Exhib­ited for the first time was an extraordin­ary series of ideo­graph­ic and lan­guage-based draw­ings executed in the 1970s, which provide the imme­di­ate con­text for spec­tacle per­form­ances.

The title of the exhib­i­tion and pub­lic­a­tion Begin­ning­less Thought/​Endless See­ing was taken from a class syl­labus Sher­man taught, and defines his work and the nature of his pro­cess. In com­bin­ing these dis­par­ate and largely unknown mater­i­als for the first time this exhib­i­tion and pub­lic­a­tion high­light the vari­ous mani­fest­a­tions of his end­less think­ing, the rich­ness and depth of his artistry across genre bound­ar­ies, and the philo­soph­ic­al themes that informed his artist­ic iden­tity and per­son­al iden­tity, in equal meas­ure.”
 — Prin­tede Mat­ter

The pub­lic­a­tion includes con­tri­bu­tions from Mark Brad­ford, Stefan Brecht, Robin Dea­con, S.K. Duff, John Hagan, Yolan­da Hawkins, Babette Man­golte, John Mat­turri, Linda G. Schulze, Tri­pod Depot, and was designed by Juli­an Bit­tin­er.

The exhib­i­tion Begin­ning­less Thought/​Endless See­ing was organ­ized by Jonath­an Ber­ger in con­junc­tion with the exhib­i­tion Stu­art Sher­man: Noth­ing Up My Sleeve, presen­ted at Par­ti­cipant Inc. Gal­lery in 2009.

Prin­ted Mat­ter, Inc.
195 Tenth Aven­ue
New York, NY 10011

Fri­day, Decem­ber 2nd 2011 from 6 to 8pm